Useful Tips

How to memorize names: 5 proven techniques


Remember that a person’s name is the most sweet and
the most important sound for him in any language.

(Dale Carnegie)

There is no good or bad memory for names. There is only a good or bad strategy for remembering them. I will introduce you to strategies that make you look very different at your ability to remember names. Make a firm decision right now to learn how to do it better! Such a solution will give you many advantages and protect you from embarrassing situations.

There is a vicious circle of our ideas about ourselves. Get rid of the limiting beliefs about your memory in names and focus all your attention on a new effective strategy. Try your best to remember names, show interest in them, imprint in people's memory, linking their images with names.

Imagine that you met a man who promised you a million dollars if you remember his name in a week. Do you remember this name? Of course, remember! When a name is important to us, our memory always works brilliantly.

The methods that I will share with you have been known for centuries. You only need to slightly change your mindset and apply the amazing associative abilities of your brain. Some people claim that they tried to memorize names by association, but nothing came of it. It will not work if you do not practice. Nothing in our life appears by itself until you start working on it. All winners of memory championships use associative methods and easily remember with their help more than a hundred names in less than half an hour. I am sure that if you use the strategies of champions, you will get exactly the same results. But you can’t easily pull a fish out of a pond!

Untrained memory is not a very reliable thing. The average person often simply relies on the fact that the names somehow settle in his head. The strategies that I share with you work flawlessly. Use them!

So, if you want to learn how to remember names as masters of memory, you should focus on four K.

1. Concentration

Imagine that you meet a person whose name is exactly the same as you. Do you remember his name? Yes, because this name is not indifferent to you. You constantly hear it, when it is pronounced, your attention is at its peak. This is a meaningful name for you, you associate it with yourself. Following the same basic strategy, you can always remember the names of new friends.

Introducing oneself, a person usually calls his name so quickly that it is impossible to make out. So try to take control of the dating process! To hear the name well, you need to slow down the pace of what is happening. Point your ears and do your best to hear the new name. Let remembering names be an important point for you.

Oliver Wendell Holmes 1 said: "Before you forget something, you need to understand this."

1 American doctor, poet and writer.

First you need to hear the name well. After all, you cannot remember what you did not hear. Then repeat it after the introduced person, so you will help your memory. If you didn’t hear, ask again. If the name is complex, ask the person to spell it.

Listen to your interlocutor and sincerely be interested in his name. Usually we strive to be so interesting that we forget to be interested. When you are interested in another person, you want to know his name. Learn to hear people, putting yourself in their place. This will help you improve not only memory, but also social intelligence.

Why do we forget names

This phenomenon can be explained. When we meet someone for the first time, our attention is scattered on many factors - the face, the appearance of a person, his voice, manner of conversation, gestures and the surroundings. An overabundance of information and a defocusing of our attention often leads to the fact that we cannot remember the name of the person in front of us.

2. Creativity

Create visual images for names so that later it is easier to restore them in memory.

Surely you often hear people say this phrase:

“I know the face, but I just can’t remember the name ...” However, no one ever says that they easily remember the names, but quickly forget the faces. Faces are imprinted in our memory in the form of visual images, so we remember them well. Names usually don’t

“Settle” in the head, because we are trying to remember them only by ear. However, it makes no sense to try to give the image a sound, nothing will work. In addition, sound memories are never as persistent as visuals.

To remember the name, we must come up with a visual image for it. Remember how we created associative images for the names of US presidents? If you give a name a specific meaning, it will be easier for you to keep it in your head.

However, if you do not do anything with the new name, it will quickly disappear from your memory. This happens because the RAM is not able to store information. Short-term and long-term memory should work together. You have to think a little about the name because we only remember what we think about.

When you meet a new person, you have only 20 seconds to come up with an association with his name. If you did not, then it will quickly disappear from your memory. The more associative relationships and meanings you come up with for a new name, the better it will “fix” in your head.

For some surnames, for example Rybin, Kuznetsov or Sorokin, it is easy to find associations. My last name is Horsley. It is easy to remember with the help of the word “choir” and Bruce Lee (a choir with Bruce Lee is a choir with li). With other surnames, it may be a little more complicated. Make efforts, use your creative abilities, and you will be able to turn any name into a visual image and come up with an association with it.

Remember the name is important

If you want to get a person’s attention, the easiest way to do this is by calling him by name. Studies show that the pronunciation of our name activates our brain, even if we are in a noisy room. That is why many influential leaders attach great importance to names and try to use them to the maximum. The effect of this is easy to verify: I believe everyone is pleased to realize that they remember him when he hears his name. Conversely, forgetfulness of others causes negative emotions.

Met - repeat

When you hear someone’s name, do not just nod in response and continue the conversation, but repeat this name, including it in your conversation or asking about something new acquaintance. For example, if your new acquaintance is called Mark, you can say: "Hello, Mark, nice to meet you," or ask him the question: "How long have you been working in IT, Mark?"

Use the name throughout the conversation, but do not overdo it and do not repeat it too often. Also include the name in the farewell phrase and, uttering it, look in the face of the interlocutor to fix in memory his image and name together.


Dr. Gary Small, a psychiatrist and an expert in the study of memory, suggests asking a person to write down his name, especially if it is unusual or rare. This technique will be effective if you have well-developed visual memory. In addition, you can ask a person for a business card and read his name on it while you are communicating with him. So you create a connection between the person and the visualization of his name in your memory.

And immediately after the meeting, write down the person’s name and basic information about him in your contacts. So you save all the most important and, on occasion, easily remember the person you are talking to. You can record both personal information and the features of its appearance or the topic of the last conversation.

Use associations

Many experts advise, at the moment when you hear a new name, to create in your imagination a verbal connection or picture for association. This can be any fact that you know about a person - his hobbies, field of activity, place of residence, etc.

Vivian Zhang gives an example of this advice, which she learned from the Dale Carnegie training course:

Imagine pictures that sound like a person’s name and compare them with other facts that you know about him. If you meet someone from Brazil named Laura, imagine her in a laurel wreath on her head floating in the Amazon River.

Make connections

Another way to remember names is to compare a person with another person with the same name that you know well. For example, with your friend or relative.

Christy Hedge recognized this technique at one of the trainings, which was attended by 15 people. She was surprised when the coach, after a brief greeting with each of the participants, walked around the group again and addressed each of them by name without a single mistake. He then used a simple technique - associated each person with a famous person (or a person known to him). For example, Ryan was associated with Ryan Gosling. It may seem complicated at first, but with practice you will learn how to instantly create such connections between people and remember their names.

Show attention

Most psychologists and experts in the field of memory study say that one of the main reasons for forgetfulness of names is that we do not focus on it and in a moment our attention is scattered on other things that we are surrounded by.

First of all, one of the most sociable people on the planet Kate Ferrazzi gives the same advice:

If you make a conscious decision to remember the name because you are paying attention to the people you meet, you will immediately begin to do it much better.

I hope that these simple tips will help you better remember names and avoid uncomfortable situations in the future. Personally, I will definitely take on board the very first advice with oral repetition of a name. It seems to me that it is easiest to start practicing with it. Tell us, how do you remember the names and do you have difficulty with this?

3. Constructions / Complex

Always remember that any learning is the process of creating a connection between the known and the unknown. If you already know the face, then you only need to combine it into one construction / complex with an unfamiliar name. When you see a face, a memory trigger should be triggered in your head or a hook should be activated to store information, in this case, to store a name.

Here are some ways to create a relationship between a name and a person. All the methods that I am telling you about are longer to explain than to apply.

Communication through comparison

This method consists in comparing your new acquaintance with another person who bears the same name. For example, you met a man named George. In order to remember this name, you need to think about another person, whose name is also George. Do you know anyone named George? It could even be a celebrity like George Clooney.

Further, all you have to do is mentally compare two people. What hair color does your friend George have? And what is the new George's hair color? If you compare not one but two traits of appearance or character, then you will pay even more attention to a new acquaintance, which means that you will make the connection between his face and name even stronger.

The more similarities you can find, the more you will focus on a new person, and these are ideal conditions for keeping his name in long-term memory. It's simple ... You just need to mentally compare the two faces. In addition, you can fix the result even more reliably if you imagine a new friend with two heads: one head is his own, and the other is your old friend with the same name.

I like this method because it helps, firstly, to remember a new person, and secondly, to refresh the memory of the name of another friend of yours. Allocate to it only several seconds, and you will forever keep in memory a new name. The mnemonic principle in this case is to use a name from long-term memory to remember a new name, which is still in short-term memory.

Some people ask me: “What if I do not know a person with the same name? With whom then to compare a new acquaintance? ”In this case, you can use other methods. Now I will tell you about them. Choose a method that suits you personally.

Communication through faces

This method consists in creating a connection between the name and a particularly remarkable appearance. The face of each person is unique, and in each face there is some special feature. Let me give you an example. Imagine that you met a woman and immediately noticed her amazingly beautiful blue eyes. This is her remarkable feature. When she says her name, you will already have a place to store it. Let's say her name is Anna. Now you need to link the name and the feature. Anna looks like a pineapple. Imagine a pineapple winking at you with amazingly beautiful blue eyes. Such stupid associations will help you firmly connect a person with a name.

Never tell anyone exactly how you use this method, because people are sometimes offended. Once I met a woman named Viola. She asked me how I remembered her name. And I told her that I was just thinking about the Viola cheese - and that was a big mistake. She was not at all impressed with my trick. Always remember that most people identify with their name, love it and perceive it as their unique brand. It may seem to them that if you reacted to their name with humor, then you laughed at them.

Here are a few questions that people usually ask me when it comes to this method:

What if I meet four people and all have the same remarkable feature - a big nose?

Finding a feature will help you focus on your face. Usually we do not pay him so much attention. Most of us hardly look at the people we meet. But now a remarkable trait will fall into the focus of your attention, and then turn into a strong connection with the name. Once I demonstrated in public that with this method I can remember more than a hundred names in half an hour. When you meet hundreds of people at the same time, you have to use many of the same remarkable features, but surprisingly there is no confusion. Practice using the method on Facebook, there are millions of photos at your service.

Can I relate the name of a new acquaintance to his clothes?

Yes, but only if you still remember his face. People change clothes, but their faces are unique. Faces hardly change.

What if I can’t create a visual image in my head for the name?

In this case, you can mentally write a name on the forehead of a new acquaintance. Imagine writing in bold red felt-tip pen. Use your creative abilities. If you are in any way recreate the name in your head, then you can remember it with the same ease as you remember faces.

Communication through a place of acquaintance

In most cases, we easily remember places where we met someone. They are well imprinted in our memory, but the names are not very ...

Our next method is to combine names with places of acquaintance. We will use a route with hooks to store names in memory. Let's say you met a woman named Rose. Ask yourself: “What will I remember about the place we met?” For example, you will remember the buffet counter. So, you need to mentally combine a large red rose and a buffet counter. Now, thinking about this place, you immediately remember the name of your new friend.

4. Hard work

You concentrated and heard the name well, then gave it a specific meaning and mentally combined it with your face, so you saved the new name in your short-term memory. However, in order to remember it forever, you need to constantly use it.

Talk with the other person about his name. If it is foreign, ask what it means, or how it is spelled. Constantly use the name in the conversation. The more you use it, the less you will need to rely on your RAM and the sooner you will save the name in your long-term memory.

From time to time ask yourself the question: “What is the name of this person?” Having answered him, ask yourself again:

"Did I remember correctly?" Try to strengthen your associations with the name throughout the day or evening.

Remember names all the time. Create a special file in the diary, on the computer or in the mobile phone with the names that you would like to remember. Add new friends to “friends” on social networks, so you can easily check their names later. Review your list of names periodically to keep it in long-term memory. It is enough to indicate the name and place of the meeting there. Keep checking this list and you’ll have a reliable name storage system in your head. Так вы больше никогда не будете попадать в неловкие ситуации из-за того, что забыли, как кого-то зовут.

С помощью этих методов вы сможете запоминать имена сотен людей, с которыми вы познакомились на одном мероприятии. К тому же улучшится ваша концентрация. А еще, если вы будете запоминать других, они тоже вас не забудут.